Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Update: Week 5 - Seeing Beyond the Scale.

I broke my scale, y'all.

This is how I know my scale-obsession had gotten out of hand: Most of last week, I was weighing myself multiple times every day, sometimes five times a day, getting off and on multiple times, feeling glee when it said I weighed 0.2 lbs less and horror when it said I weighed 0.2 lbs more. This crazy behavior resulted in the scale I've had for only about a month going on the fritz, eventually telling me I weighed 285 one minute and 245 the next.

So I bought another scale on Thursday, a little more expensive this time.

This one was messed up from the start. It would weigh me 20 pounds differently in the span of five minutes. I then learned from some research that we should wait 15 minutes before re-weighing ourselves, so I started doing that. The results weren't much better.

All of this to say, I've been forced to ignore the scale for a while. It's probably best for my mental health anyway. God was definitely trying to tell me something.

It's hard to remember this sometimes, but gastric bypass isn't just about seeing the number on the scale go down. It's about becoming a healthier person and living a fuller life. Because I can't obsess about my numbers, I have to focus more on how I feel in my clothes, and how well I can get around. I'm also going to try focusing on eating high-quality, healthy food and enjoying my new self - even 30 pounds makes a big difference. Seeing past the scale might help me celebrate what RNY is doing for me in the present.

Sure, it would be fabulous if I were dropping more weight faster; even the fastest losers wish for that. But what WLS has given me most of all is hope. Now, I can envision a future in which I am not morbidly obese, a future where:
  • I don't dread flying because of seatbelts and "uncomfortable" seatmates;
  • A guy that I like might actually find me attractive and see me as more than his fat friend;
  • If someone suggests that I date a skinny guy, I'm not able to retort: "No skinny guys - we would look like the number 10";
  • I can wear a business suit or business-casual clothing and stand out in the workplace, not because of my weight or my odd-looking clothes (a la last summer), but because I do awesome work;
  • I can walk into a regular-people's store with a friend and shop, instead of hanging out by the accessories to avoid snide comments (e.g., "What is she doing in here? She knows we don't have her size!");
  • I can go walking somewhere with my friends and keep up, instead of needing to stop and take breaks or getting left behind because I can't walk fast enough;
  • I can satisfy my outdoorsy urges by going hiking and camping with real outdoorspeople, something I've always been reticent to try solely because of my weight;
  • If something goes wrong, I don't just blame it on my weight, but rather take it seriously and deal with what's really going on;
  • I don't cringe in apprehension anytime I walk past a group of teenage boys, fearing that they will yell something inappropriate about my body; and
  • I don't worry so much about fat people's health problems like high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, or gastroesophageal reflux disease.

I decided to take the drastic step of having RNY because I could no longer see this future.

Through 20+ years of failed weight loss efforts, I still had a positive vision of the future, even though I didn't know how I was going to get there. That is, until about 9 or 10 months ago. Not only did I lose faith that the things above would happen for me, but I also started to fear that I wouldn't even live too long because of my weight. I honestly started to worry that obesity was going to prematurely kill me. That sounds a bit melodramatic, but it's real and the statistics support my fear.

My decision to have WLS was about more than the number on the scale. It was about regaining my vision and my hope. That has happened for me already, and that's so much more important than this week's numbers.

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